Are you looking for some good news on the exercise front? (Hint: If you’re someone who can’t stand the thought of getting sweaty in a gym, this study is definitely for you.)
According to new research, older women who engage in light physical activity around the house—like gardening or folding clothes—may have a much lower risk for stroke and other heart problems than women who remain sedentary.
Fold your way to a healthier heart
This study featured nearly 6,000 women, with ages ranging from 63 to 99 years old. Researchers followed them for roughly three-and-a-half years, using accelerometers to measure physical activity levels.
Needless to say, most of us wouldn’t think to report laundry as exercise. But results clearly showed that every movement counts when it comes to heart disease prevention among older women—including folding laundry.
The time women spent performing light physical activities ranged anywhere from 30 minutes to 10 hours a day.
In the end, the women who spent more than five and half hours per day doing light physical activity functioned better physically, had fewer chronic health conditions, and were leaner than women in the lowest quartile. But that’s not all…
They also had a 58 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. And a 37 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Plus, incorporating more light physical activity lowered risk of heart attack and coronary death by 42 percent. And it lowered the risk of other heart-related events by 22 percent, compared to lower levels of light physical activity.
A little bit goes a long way
These are pretty strong associations—and pretty huge percentages of deceased risk. Who would have guessed that a little “housework” could make such a drastic difference?
Well, I can’t exactly say that I’m too surprised. Though it’s always nice to have the numbers laid out so neatly. Especially since, as these researchers point out, older women aren’t getting enough of even this type of low-level physical activity.
And you know what? These are the women in my practice that find it the hardest to exercise. Often because they’re struggling with other conditions that make traditional workouts more challenging.
But thanks to this study, I now have some helpful ammunition to reinforce the fact that any movement is good movement.
I’ll also go out on a limb and say that the benefits are powerful for anyone—not just women. (I can recognize a sexist study design when I see one.) Because last I checked, household chores get sedentary men moving, too.
And much like sugar, sitting kills. Especially if you aren’t folding laundry when you do it.
I discussed the lethal risks of a sedentary life in more detail in the February 2014 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The silent epidemic stealing your youth”). If you aren’t yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started. Click here to sign-up today!
P.S. Aside from mild physical activity, there are many natural ways to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. That’s why I’ve compiled everything I know on the subject into my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. This innovative online learning tool is chock full of dietary, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations that will keep your heart running in tip-top shape for years to come. Click here to learn more, or sign up today.
“Light Activity Lowers Cardiovascular Risk in Older Women.” Medscape Medical News, 03/19/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/910597)